Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2020

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Immunology)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) is a common human-specific poxvirus with a proclivity for

infecting children and the immune-compromised. A characteristic MCV infection is restricted to

the epidermal layers of the skin and can persist for weeks to years in an otherwise healthy

individual. The high clinical burden of MCV is at odds with our limited knowledge regarding how

it successfully evades the human immune response, which is in part due to the lack of an animal

model or cell line to propagate the virus. Through this dissertation, we have uncovered and

characterized a novel mechanism by which MC80, a protein encoded by MCV, downregulates

host MHC-I surface expression in human and murine cell lines to evade T cell killing.

Additionally, by sequencing clinically-derived MCV lesions, we have been able to assemble

multiple novel MCV genomes and identified that three key regions of the MCV genome, encoding

immune-evasive proteins, appear to be undergoing both homologous recombination and accordion



English (en)

Chair and Committee

Daved H. Fremont

Committee Members

David Wang, Daniel E. Goldberg, Brian S. Kim, Marco Colonna,